EDINBURG, Texas (Sunday, September 17, 2023) – Rio Grande Valley FC (8-10-11) hosted Eastern conference side Birmingham Legion FC (12-14-3) as both teams officially met for the first time in history since competing in the USL Championship ranks. The home side claimed a huge victory by the minimum, 1-0, to keep their playoff hopes alive and give the anxious home crowd something to cheer for after a lengthy weather delay.
The matchup originally scheduled for a 7:06pm CT kickoff suffered a lengthy delay due to inclement weather in the area, it officially started at 8:18pm CT after the all clear was given.
The first half was a passive trade between final third entries by each side as Rio Grande managed seven shots, three on target to keep Matt Van Oekel on his toes. The visiting side had approaches of their own as they put up six shot attempts, landing just a single on target as Tyler Deric directed traffic well in the opening period.
Things quickly turned around in the second half as Frank Lopez got things going after finding a loose ball in the box that defelceted off the left leg of Ian Cerro; he controlled briefly then sent a shot as he fell, just sneaking it by Van Oekel. The goal was the third of the season for the Cuban born veteran striker, the match was 1-0 in favor of RGV FC at the 49th minute.
Rio Grande Valley held on in the dying minutes of the match to claim a victory by the minimum, 1-0 and kept their playoff hopes alive as they improved at home with a decisive clean sheet performance.
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